China’s Persecution of Uyghur Muslims Must Stop, says Emily Thornberry MP
Islamic Monitor, 16 February 2019
By Dr. Mozammel Haque – “We will not stand silent while the Uighur community remain subject to this terrible repression and persecution, all done to them for no other reason than their Muslim faith..” said Rt. Hon. Emily Thornberry MP for Islington South and Finsbury and Shadow Secretary o State or Commonwealth and Foreign Affairs at the event ‘China’s Brute Crackdown and Incarceration of Uyghur Muslims’ organised by Cordoba Foundation, on Wednesday 13 February, 2019.
Abhorrent prejudice based on religion
Labour MP Thornberry described the situation in Xinjiang. She said, “what we see in China today: hundreds of thousands in mass detention; hundreds of thousands facing cultural re-education and psychological indoctrination; a whole people facing systematic oppression and brutal violence… …Is something we associate with Cambodia forty years ago…or China fifty years ago or in other countries down the decades and centuries where abhorrent prejudice based on religion, race or skin colour – has been allowed to flourish unchallenged.”
“To send the simple message but one that must be shouted loud and clear throughout our country and the world, and one that must be heard by China… That and it cannot be tolerated any longer. And one of the reasons we need to raise awareness of this issue now, and make clear it cannot continue, is that – as we all deaths and even organ harvesting have emerged from the camps,” said Rt. Hon. Thornberry.
That is not just abhorrent, it is unacceptable,
and it cannot be tolerated any longer.
Labour MP Thornberry said, “But for that to be happening today, two decades into the twenty-first century, in a country with a permanent seat on the Security Council – that is not just abhorrent, it is unacceptable, and it cannot be tolerated any longer. And one of the reasons we need to raise awareness of this issue now, and make clear it cannot continue, is that – as we all know — it has been getting worse for the past 5 years, and it is getting worse as we speak, driven by State Secretary Chen.”
Rt. Hon. Thornberry said, “The number of Uyghur currently being detained in re-education centres is at least 1 million, detained for reasons as straightforward as regularly attending mosque. Increasing reports of torture, abuse, deaths and even organ harvesting have emerged from the camps.”
What can be done? Public condemnation, Shut
Down camps and use pressure on the Chinese
So what can be done? asked the Labour MP Thornberry. She said there must be public condemnation, shut down the camps, and or the UK government to use pressure on the Chinese government and prevent deportation of Uyghur asylum seekers back to China. She said, “Clearly, it is important that we maintain public condemnation of the treatment of the Uighurs, and support the call of the UN for the Chinese authorities to shut down the re-education camps now. We also need the UK Government to continue to use intergovernmental forums to apply pressure on the Chinese. Here in the UK, it is imperative we prevent the deportation of Uyghur asylum seekers back to China and expedite asylum applications from Uighur Muslims.”
Impose sanctions against the individuals
who are abusing human rights
“And one option that the Government did not have a year ago is to use the ‘Magnitsky powers’ that Labour ensured were passed into law this year to impose sanctions against the individuals who are abusing human rights. And first in line should be State Secretary Chen.”
Consider implementing export controls
on surveillance technology
Speaking about the role of private sector, Shadow Secretary of State for Commonwealth and Foreign Affairs, Rt Hon. Thornberry said, “The private sector also has a role to play. We must urge any companies operating in Xinjiang province to end any business operations that are contributing to human rights abuses. And the British Government must also consider implementing export controls on surveillance technology that is used by the provincial authorities to monitor and oppress Uyghur Muslims.”
We need to act fast.
“But whatever we do, we need to act fast. China may be an important trading partner, and a vital player in the world, but that is all the more reason to demand that they act on human rights abuses, not for us to turn a blind eye to the glaringly obvious. And frankly, what is happening is glaringly obvious. What was claimed to be an attempt to target extremism and terrorism has morphed into something horrendously different, where the only thing being targeted is those who practice the Muslim faith,” said Rt. Hon. Thornberry.
Now is the time for us to say ‘enough is enough’,
now is the time to tell China this must stop
Mentioning the only thing being targeted is those who practice the Muslim faith, Shadow Secretary of State for Commonwealth and Foreign Affairs, Thornberry said, “In other words, it is the old-age story of ‘us’ and ‘them’, the ‘normal’ and the ‘other’, and as soon as people start to think in that way, and as soon as the state starts to act in that way, and divide people in that way, we are on a very slippery and dangerous slope. And we already a long way day that slope in China. So now is the time for us to say ‘enough is enough’, now is the time to tell China this must stop, and now is the time to ensure the Uighur people can practice their faith in peace. Because there is no ‘them’, there is no ‘other’, there is only ‘us’.”
Reported by Dr. Muzzamel Haque for Islamic Monitor